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LEGO Racers vs. LEGO Racers 2 - Analysis

BobaFett2

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I will be comparing LEGO Racers and LEGO Racers 2 in this blog post. I had more of an introduction but my stupid browser closed. I am in no way an experienced reviewer, so I apologize if this is awkward. I also apologize if there's any big spelling/grammar errors or inaccuracies.

Outside of Races:

LEGO Racers has a build function to let you build cars. It's a little clunky, but it works well. There's a lot of customizability, and you unlock the part sets of the bosses that you beat. The best two car sets are Veronica Voltage's and Rocket Racer's, as they are (at least in theory) faster.

LEGO Racers 2 has a simple storyline, where you race each racer in order to reach the galactic championship. You start on Sandy Bay, racing people from the Town theme. On each world, you have to build a car or use a pre-made one from the theme. There are a number of pre-made cars to choose from for each world, so your options aren't limited significantly. There are three gold bricks on each world, and you win a gold brick every time you win a race. It requires a certain number of gold bricks to unlock each world. The first unlocked is the Adventurer's world, then the Mars world, then the Arctic world, then the Xalax world. There are also two challenges on each world, each of which gives you a car part, boosting your speed, grip, or shield (how much damage you can take before your car is destroyed). The worlds, with the exception of Xalax world, have sets from the themes as well as custom models which fight into these themes. There are also figures scattered throughout the world who give hints about the location of gold bricks and challenges.

Tracks:

LEGO Racers has 13 different tracks. Each track has a variety of LEGO sets from Space, Adventurer, Pirates, and Castle themes. Basil and Gypsy's circuits feature the hardest, and darker tracks. The other racer's circuits are generally bright (with the exception of Dark Forest Dash). All of the tracks, with the exception of Knightmare-athon, have shortcuts. These shortcuts can be easy to find (the Ice Planet Pathway's shortcut is in plain sight, whereas I didn't discover Dark Forest Dash's shortcut until I saw Jamesster's video of that track). Some tracks, such as Imperial Grand Prix, have a shortcut which will only open when hit by an attack. Desert Adventure Dragway, Tribal Island Trial have multiple shortcuts - Desert Adventure Dragway has two shortcuts which open when hit by an attack, and Tribal Island Trial has two shortcuts as well as an open route through a lake which can be considered a shortcut.

Numerous tracks have interactive features - in addition to shortcuts that you have to attack to open, there are also moving objects (blocking your path), spinning lightning, and even a randomized mummy's curse spawner.

My only issue with LEGO Racers' tracks is that 12 of them are flipped and reused. It's likely that they did this to meet deadlines, but it's still a little disappointing.

The tracks from LEGO Racers 2 are all found within the worlds (with the possible exception of one Xalax track). It's easy to get off track if you make a mistake, and at times such errors can set you back. There are no built-in shortcuts, although there is sometimes an alternate route which is quicker than the standard one. There are very few interactive objects on the tracks, and these are only found on the Xalax world. They are limited to a single spinning gateway which has little effect on the track and some sections of track where gravity is modified. The tracks are pretty boring compared to the LEGO Racers tracks.

Attacks/Power-Ups:

LEGO Racers has five colors of bricks: red, yellow, blue, green, and white. Green bricks are a little rarer than the other colors, as they are the most powerful. White bricks increase the power of the other bricks, and you can have up to three white bricks at a time. When you're hit by an attack while carrying a white brick, you'll drop a white brick. Red bricks are attacks - in order of power: cannonball, grappling hook (pulls you forward), lightning (hits anyone directly in front of you for a few seconds), and rockets (shoots three rockets which hit the nearest three racers). Yellow bricks are attacks backward, although if I'm not mistaken, only the first two count as attacks: an oil spill which spins a racer around (the oil spill lies on the ground), rolling dynamite, a tractor beam thing, and a mummy which reverses your left and right arrow keys and slows you down. Blue bricks are shields - the more white bricks you have, the more they protect you. Yellow and red shields (two and three white bricks, respectively) will reflect some attacks. Green bricks are speed boosts. A green brick with three white bricks teleports you a significant distance and is considered overpowered by many.

LEGO Racers 2 has bricks lying around the track at certain points which give you a random attack. When a racer is hit by an attack or runs too quickly into the wall of ground, they lose a few parts. If the entire car is destroyed, they can still run but they have a 50 MPH speed limit. To repair your car, you have to run through a special repair zone, one of which is situated on every track. All of the power ups are attacks: a missile which creates a shockwave (I've only hit someone once with this), a tornado (I don't remember what it does as you don't get it in first place, a vortex (shoots a vortex behind you), a seeking missile (seeks the racer immediately in front of you), a disk (shoots directly in front of you), an invisibility attack which lets you steal other racer's power-ups and an attack which takes parts of every car, but which can only be picked up in last place. In my opinion, this system is very boring, and a LEGO Racers style power-up system would have been much more interesting.

Main Races:

The races in LEGO Racers are quite fun, and get progressively challenging at you go on. Each circuit, excepting the last, contains four races. Over time, the variety of power-ups and number of white bricks bosses use increases, increasing the difficulty. Each circuit is a little harder than the last, and the last two are especially challenging. As stated above, my major issue is the re-used tracks.

In LEGO Racers 2, the first four races on Sandy Bay are all against single racers - a construction worker, a postman, a firefighter, and a police chief. After that, races are from a hub on each world, with four races against 7 generic racers and one against a boss. The generic races are fairly boring, although the boss races are a lot more interesting. The third boss race, against Rigel, is a race against a giant robot, and you have to get past it by going around, as it more or less occupies the entire track. However, it has a problem of running off track and it takes a few seconds to get back on. The fourth boss fight, against Berg, is even better - you race an Ice Monster (from Rock Raiders) which drops ice spikes behind it. Ice spikes hurt you and slow you down, so you have to avoid the ice spikes, catch up to Berg, and get past him. The boss races can be challenging, especially Sam Sanister (yes, that's what they call him in game) and Rocket Racer's, taking a few tries to beat.

Time Trials:

In LEGO Racers, the time trials are races against Veronica Voltage. Veronica is intangible, and any bricks she picks up immediately reappear behind her. Most time trials only contain green and white bricks, although a few contain red bricks (to open shortcuts) and a few contain blue bricks. She is fast and isn't slowed down by running off track and can be quite tough to beat on the last four tracks.

LEGO Racers2 time trials are just you driving on an empty track. They're a lot more boring than LEGO Racers time trials.

Multiplayer:

It turns out that LEGO Racers DOES have a multiplayer, but you have to get USB controllers for it.

LEGO Racers 2 has a multiplayer system where you can assemble a series of tracks to race on. I haven't played against anyone on it, so I have nothing else to say about it.

Other:

Both games have a mode where you can do individual races. The individual races in LEGO Racers have the same racers as would normally be on the circuit, while the individual races in LEGO Racers 2 are against generic racers, but you don't have any car power-ups as it's not in story mode. These can be fairly challenging.

To me, the interface from LEGO Racers looks better than the one from LEGO Racers 2.

The car physics in LEGO Racers are way more fun, even if they're unrealistic. In LEGO Racers 2 there are a lot of ups and downs, and you fly through the air often.

Who wins - LEGO Racers vs. LEGO Racers 2:

Tracks: LEGO Racers, by a long shot

Outside of Races: LEGO Racers 2

Time Trials: LEGO Racers

Main Races: LEGO Racers

Attacks/Power-Ups: LEGO Racers

Multiplayer: I can't judge this, although even with the "league" system in LEGO Racers 2, you can't

Overall:

After playing LEGO Racers 2 a few times, I am still of the opinion that LEGO Racers 1 is the better game. The car physics are more fun, the tracks are better, the time trials are more interesting, the races themselves, with the exception of the boss races, are more interesting.



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All of the tracks, with the exception of Nightmare-A-Thon and , have shortcuts.

 

*All the the tracks, with the exception of Knightmare-Athon and Pirate Skull Pass, have shortcuts.

 

The only ability that isn't an attack is invisibility, which makes you invisible to other racers.

 

To me, invisibility seems like a last minute "We need one more powerup, guys. What do you think?" kind of idea. Invisible from whom? The AI? Why would you need to become invisible from the video game? I mean, you can still get hit by an attack when you are invisible, as happened to me when I played ~ a month ago! A short-term invincibility would make more sense.

 

LEGO Racers only has multiplayer on game systems, not on PC, so I've never used it.

 

Incorrect. Racers has PC multiplayer. It's called Versus Race. You just have to have a controller plugged into the PC, but it is reported you can use a certain program and emulate it (I've never tried it, but I've been meaning to).

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Fixed, I meant to write in Adventure Temple Trail earlier. Pirate Skull Pass does have a Shortcut, Adventure Temple Trail does not.

 

That's a good point about invisibility - it sucks.

 

Didn't know that about multiplayer.

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You just have to have a controller plugged into the PC

Well considering I have 3 USB controllers (give or take) I might just try that out.

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Outside of Race: Agree. LR2 is better outside of races.

Tracks: Yeah, LRs is much better on this. A lot more variety.

TT: Definitely better on LR. LR2 is infinite laps only counting lap time. All it is pretty much good for is practicing.

Main Racers: Eh.. yeah, LRs is better. As proven on my now non-existing LP, even just one power upgrade can be overpowering, bosses aside.

Powerups: On LR2, the certain random powerups it gives you in certain positions aren't that good. (like on 1 on 1 racers, it gives you a weapon to get a racer BEHIND you when you are second for example). Also, the brickshake weapon (that indirect attack that is like an earthquake) is over powered, because you are the only one who can get it (unless a CPU steals it from you). Proof in my LP where I only have one power upgrade and RR is half the track ahead, and I get two completely destroying his car.

 

"LEGO Racers only has multiplayer on game systems, not on PC"

Um, there is a 2 player mode on PC. It is called "versus".

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The only ability that isn't an attack is invisibility, which makes you invisible to other racers.

You know that with the ninja (invisible) powerup you can steal another racer's weapon, right? You just have to touch them. Also, it shows an icon of the powerup the other racers have as well (though I believe you have to be withing a certain range if I recall) so you know if you want to steal it or not.

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Fixed the controller thing...

Did not know that about invisibility. I've never had the chance to use it that way, because I'm usually far ahead.


Likewise, I had never seen that shortcut. However, PSP definitely has a shortcut.

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However, PSP definitely has a shortcut.

It had a shortcut in beta, but it was removed. There's a whole thread about it. No shortcut remains in the final.

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I bought LR1 and LR2 together in a two-pack, and played through both at the same time. I can honestly say I like LR2 more, reasons being:

  • Overall feel and style. It's hard to put my finger on what exactly it is, but LR2 just looks and feels better, from the more stylish UI to the cutscenes.
  • Bosses in LR1 were pretty strange. You were always racing against a boss in LR1 (who was really just somebody in a car with likings for certain power-ups, and had no personality given to them outside of a short ten second intro cutscene), and as a result, all the races in the game were basically boss races without variation in gameplay, with a couple of insignificant AI characters always trailing so far behind they never impacted the race. LR2 actually had proper bosses, with one-on-one races and more unique designs (you race against a freaking mech, 'nuff said). They also had a bit more to them than just a brief intro cutscene - both winning and losing cutscenes, and a spotlight in the final cutscene at the end of the game. The bosses simply mattered more in LR2, in LR1 they weren't as distinguished.
  • You may fault LR2 for having less themes included, but aside from perhaps Knights Kingdom, what else could you even possibly include? LR1 was made just at the end of LEGO's multi-faction theme era, LR2 was made just when the rebooted system was being introduced. Technically, LR2 had more themes than LR1 - but had less variety in environment design because there were no longer at least two or three factions per theme.
  • The open worlds. LR1 just felt closed off and disconnected, with hardly any cohesive plot besides a little blurb in the manual, and no connection between the various tracks, even tracks within the same theme. LR2 actually felt like you were exploring the LEGO universe, talking to its inhabitants, and seeing how it all fit together.
  • More game modes than just plain racing. Hello battle mode and capture the flag!
  • Oh, and you could win car upgrades from completing the bonus games, which brings me to my next point - you actually improved your vehicles as you went along. In LR1, nothing ever really changed, some car chassis might be slightly faster or turn sharper, but there was really no indication of this, if there even IS any real difference between new car unlocks.
  • The physics in the PC version of LR2 were far from perfect, but may I point out the absolutely terrible drifting and awkward rear wheel bouncing of LR1? Yeah, I'd call it even here.
  • The music. This is mostly up to personal taste, but I can't stand most of the music in LR1 - it's obnoxious, always sounds the same, and the synthesizers are terrible. LR2 wasn't perfect in music either - they sure liked re-using that menu theme a lot - but it's an improvement.
  • Power-ups: LR1 had some fun power-ups. Such a shame you never had to use them, as the warp was so over-powered it's all you even really need. And without any sort of rubber banding, things like this happen. LR2 was actually more balanced with its power-ups, and honestly, I found them pretty fun, especially with the secondary uses, like riding on top of the rocket drill or dropping the blast bubble as a land mine. Which leads into my next point...
  • ... Car destruction. Holy crud, is that ever fun. Something the developers of LR1 wanted to do, but couldn't due to technical limitations... Instead, in LR1, random bricks falling off is nothing more than an underwhelming special effect, and most power-ups do nothing but pop you into the air and slow you down. In LR2, the power-ups actually pack a punch. Not to mention that they can still be played off of each other in interesting ways - for example, if you're fast enough, you can fire a slizer disk behind you to take out an incoming homing rocket.
In the end, the only places where I actually prefer LR1 are:
  • Character and car building. Sorry ATD, but you really could have done better here. LR1 had plenty of minifigure pieces, and you unlocked more as you progressed. In LR2, there's only a small handful, which can only be combined to make a couple of actually good looking characters, and you don't unlock more. I like the addition of plates to car building, but without the ability to freely mix and match car sets, the options are limited.
  • Track variation. The open worlds are fun to explore, but while actually racing, you just end up re-tracing the same paths several times.
  • Veronica Voltage would have been nice.

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Capture the Flag? Battle Mode? Where are those?

... Oh bloody heck. How much have you played this game...? :/ Battle mode is in the multiplayer menu along with league mode and stuff, and the capture the flag-style bonus games are activated by hidden portals scattered throughout the worlds, which you hunt for and complete for car upgrades... They're a core part of the game, and really put the open worlds to good use.

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As I said, I've never played the Multiplayer for either game.

When you said "Capture the Flag", I thought you were talking about something else...I think of Capture the Flag as something where the enemies attack you when you have the flag. I always found those to be fairly routine, even a little boring. The only ones that are remotely challenging are the Xalax ones, and they're still not hard.

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It looks like they drive in circles to me. They don't follow you actively, and they definitely don't swerve to catch you.

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What good would that do? They lock onto you and chase you around, and will usually succeed in ramming you if you don't get away as fast as possible.

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...weird. It's always seemed different to me. I'll try it again to see if they're actually following me. Regardless, the only one I've lost was the Taxi Driver.

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They idle around in loops if you're somewhere else on the map, but if you get close to them - which is often required to get some of the objects or drop-off points - they start trying to ram you. You can usually avoid them fairly easily if you think ahead slightly, they're not super hard to get past or anything, but they certainly do more than drive in loops.

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Thanks for the long post, I see why you prefer LEGO Racers II.


I try to play LEGO Racers without warps, you can even play without green bricks up to the third/fourth circuits. Only Gypsy Moth and Rocket Racer use warps.

 

I've found that in non-boss races in LR2, I'm usually ahead (I prioritize engine power-ups), even if I don't get all the upgrades.

 

I don't fault LR2 for the themes included - I think they integrated the themes quite well, so there's no problem there.

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All of the tracks, with the exception of Nightmare-A-Thon and Pirate Skull Pass, have shortcuts.

There's no such track as nightmare-a-thon. It's Knightmare-athon. And Pirate Skull Pass definitely has a shortcut, right near the end.

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All of the tracks, with the exception of Nightmare-A-Thon and Pirate Skull Pass, have shortcuts.

There's no such track as nightmare-a-thon. It's Knightmare-athon. And Pirate Skull Pass definitely has a shortcut, right near the end.

Read the above discussion - I kept getting told that it did not (because it doesn't save time?), so I changed it.

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